A comparison of Socrates and Solomon: what is the good life?
This is another comparison of Socrates and a Biblical figure. This one is going to compare the wise men of two different cultures. One thing I find interesting is that Socrates is Greek, making him a Gentile. In the Bible, Greek seems to be a synonym for all Gentiles. Not very important, but still interesting. Also, this seems to be funny because Solomon knows that he has nothing, even with everything in the world, while Socrates is the ugly, poor man who has decided he is the wisest man on earth. I am taking Socrates’ ideas from his dialogues, and Solomon’s ideas from Ecclesiastes. I am going to show that Solomon is the wiser. Once again, I am doing this in the Greek writing exercise form, so please bear with the boring form. This way makes it a lot easier for me to figure out what to write. As always, feel free to comment on my post. This one being a battle between worldviews, I would love to know what everyone thinks.
First, I will state how they got their wisdom. Solomon’s wisdom came as a gift from God, so that immediately gives it a head start over Socrates’ wisdom. Socrates claimed that the only wisdom he had was that he knew that he was not wise, but he assumed a lot of things for such a man. Being a philosopher, it would be kind of hard for him to claim that.
Their birth and upbringing gave Solomon another boost. He was born into the house of the king of Israel, God’s chosen people. Not only that, but his father was a man after God’s own heart. Socrates was born into a family of middle class Greeks, so he would not have a chance at the true wisdom that comes from knowing God. I think that it is obvious that Solomon had a better childhood.
What their wisdom actually taught is the main part of this post. Socrates taught such things as reincarnation, every man being his own God, and a host of other things that todays New Age philosophers would shout with joy over. If you are surprised at this, let me steal some of Solomon’s wisdom: “there is nothing new under the sun.” Socrates’ idea of the good life was to find “the truth.” However, there are a few differences between Socrates and todays popular thinking: Socrates believed in absolutes, and he believed in right and wrong.
Solomon could be called a pessimistic preacher after reading the first part of Ecclesiastes. But if you read it all the way through, you find that Solomon taught that the only true happiness came in following God. While he does reference the idea of “eat, drink, and be merry,” he quite clearly states that you are to follow God. That is his idea of the good life. Interestingly, in Ecclesiastes, Solomon says ” do not be overly wise; why should you destroy yourself?” Socrates met his death from holding fast to what he called “wisdom.”
I hope that I have shown that Solomon was the wiser of the two. If I haven’t then please tell me why. See you later!